In Singapore however, where our country is so much smaller than London for example, we don't exactly see a lot of people doing that. It's probably not in the culture and also, our public transport system is rather comprehensive.
More people have been able to own cars over the last decade due to a variety of factors. But in recent times, the COE prices are going ridiculously skyward that it'll be a good time to consider alternative transport such as cycling.
18 December was OCBC's Safe Cycling Day, held as a promotional initiative in the lead-up to the OCBC Cycle Run in March. With the message “1.5M Matters. Share the Road”, 2,000 cyclists turned up bright and early at 6.00 am in the morning donned in the Safe Cycling jerseys to advocate this message.
2,000 cyclists gathered at 6.00 am on 18 December for OCBC's Safe Cycling Day. (Photo: Basil Lam)This '1.5M Matters' month-long campaign aims to raise awareness of the need for both cyclists and motorists to respect each other and share the roads. Cyclists belong on the roads (not the pedestrian paths) and the safety distance between cyclists and motorists is 1.5 metres (hence the message).
OCBC Safe Cycling campaign organiser Chris Robb, also managing director of Spectrum Worldwide, said,"People in other cities in the world overcome climate challenges of cycling. You hear stories about London where there are thousands of people cycling to work in the freezing cold; in snow, rain, and if they can do it those conditions, why can't we do it here in Singapore? Get to work half an hour early, have a shower, cool down and go to work."
"This is the first step to educating people about safe cycling. In our bid to contribute to the cycling community in Singapore, we singled out the 1.5-metre safety distance rule and this campaign fully emphasises on it. It is a guideline to be followed but many motorists fail to do so. Passing cyclists too closely will cause drafts which are dangerous as they may fall over as a result," Mr Robb added.
Safe Cycling Day was a successful event with objectives achieved and expected turnout exceeded. The Safe Cycling jerseys given out to participants ran out by 7.00 am!
I caught up with participant Vincent Tee, 36, procurement manager, at the event:
Q: Hi Vincent, you woke up really early just to be part of this. What motivated you to join OCBC's Safe Cycling Day?
A: I'm here because I support the cause. There is a need to emphasise on the 1.5-metre safety distance rule between cyclists and motorists, especially with the increase of vehicles on the roads now.
Q: What is the ideal relationship between cyclists and motorists?
A: Cyclists and motorists need to respect each other. The roads are for public usage and not for motorists only, so everyone has a responsibility to share. Bicycles should not be pedestrian paths.
Q: What are your views on dangers on the roads?
A: Danger is always present. Most importantly, everyone using the road (be it cyclist or motorist) has to look out for others and be responsible.
Q: What are your thoughts on OCBC Safe Cycling Day?
A: I'm glad I was involved in it (as a participant) and I will always be keen to support this cause. The event increased awareness about the 1.5-metre rule and served as a good reminder to those who are aware but do not practise it.
(Photos by Basil Lam, Text courtesy of www.Cheryl-Tay.com)